4 Philanthropic Benefits Your Employees Want

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If you’re looking to improve your hiring efforts and appeal to a wider range of candidates, offering the right benefits is critical.

You might think of benefits as things like health insurance, paid time off, and 401(k) matching — and these are excellent recruitment and retention tools! But there’s an entire category of employee benefits you might be overlooking: philanthropic benefits.

Corporate philanthropic benefits typically involve partnering with verified nonprofit organizations your employees are passionate about. These benefits are a great way to boost job satisfaction and employee engagement. Corporate philanthropic benefits can also help drive your corporate social responsibility efforts through the roof by highlighting your company’s charitable actions and improving your overall public image.

Philanthropic benefits can come in all shapes and sizes, but here are a few of the most common types to help you get started:

1. Corporate Matching Gifts

Corporate matching gifts are one of the most popular employee giving programs. Under this arrangement, an employer typically agrees to financially match donations made by employees to eligible nonprofit causes. Here’s how the process typically works:

  1. An employee makes a donation to a nonprofit organization.
  2. The donor requests a corporate match from your company.
  3. You verify the initial donation was made to the nonprofit.
  4. You submit your matching gift to the nonprofit.

If you’re going to implement this giving program, it’s important to consider the types of gifts you’re willing to match beforehand. For example, some companies choose to match donations made to any registered nonprofit, while others might specify a narrower range of causes and missions they’ll give to.

Additionally, while the majority of businesses with gift matching programs tend to match donations dollar for dollar, others might match at a lower (0.5:1) or higher (2:1 or even 3:1) rate instead.

2. Volunteer Grants

Employee volunteer grants are similar to matching gift programs in that they allow your business to financially support the nonprofit causes your employees are passionate about. The difference between volunteer grants and matching gifts is the way that employees show their initial support. Rather than making financial contributions to a nonprofit cause, employees simply volunteer their time with an organization, to which you will award a monetary grant.

The volunteer grant process usually looks something like this:

  1. An employee volunteers regularly with a nonprofit organization.
  2. The volunteer requests a volunteer grant from your company.
  3. You verify the volunteer hours worked with the organization.
  4. You submit your volunteer grant to the nonprofit.

As you build your volunteer grant program, one of the first steps is to determine the amount you’ll offer in grant dollars to the nonprofits your employees volunteer with. Some businesses pay a set amount of money per hour an employee volunteers, while others opt to donate a lump sum once an employee reaches a minimum threshold. Most companies that offer volunteer grants pay between $8 and $15 per volunteer hour worked.

3. Paid Volunteer Time Off

Paid volunteer time off, also known as VTO, allows employees to take paid time off from work to volunteer with charitable causes. These paid hours should be considered separate from other paid time off, like sick days and vacation days. VTO should be set aside expressly for employee volunteerism.

Many companies even encourage groups of employees to volunteer together, which doubles as an excellent team bonding experience. Offering your team members paid time off to volunteer with charitable causes is a fantastic way to align your mission and values with those of your employees.

4. Paycheck Deductions

Paycheck deductions are a simple philanthropic benefit in which employees designate a certain percentage or dollar amount from each paycheck to go towards a charitable cause. This type of benefit is a favorite of both employees and employers, due to the ease with which workers can give to a good cause and the simplicity of executing the benefit on the organization’s side.

Employers that offer paycheck deductions as a benefit typically vet the nonprofits employees can give to, as this ensures company dollars go to legitimate organizations.

Participating in corporate philanthropy improves your company’s image externally and sets your team up for long-term internal success. When you offer generous employee giving programs, you allow your team members to actively participate in your giving. As a result, many companies with philanthropic benefits tend to see significant increases in employee engagement and lower levels of employee turnover.

And when it comes to recruiting new team members to your business, these unique benefits can set your company apart from the competition and capture candidate attention. Just be sure to highlight these fantastic giving opportunities within the hiring process.

Adam Weinger is the president of Double the Donation.

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By Adam Weinger